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Vikings blank Bulldogs in battle of Coast Conference unbeatens

Sat Apr 1, 2023
Emma Courtney watches her 4th inning two-run HR sail over the left-center fence.

Emma Courtney watches her 4th inning two-run HR sail over the left-center fence.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky when West Valley's Shelby White's first pitch crossed the plate for a strike against San Mateo's Lafu Malapeai at 12:22pm. For the next seven innings, in front of a large crowd at Viking Field, the last two unbeaten Coast Conference teams would battle on the first sunny Saturday in weeks, with West Valley blanking the defending state champions 7-0.

The Vikings (21-5, 8-0 Coast) used a perfectly-executed blend of offense, defense and pitching to outplay the Bulldogs (25-5, 6-1) and pick up their 13th win in a row. WVC outhit CSM 11-4 and used two big innings - the 4th and the 5th - to distance itself from one of the top offensive squads in the state.

White was in control throughout, scattering four singles and forcing the Bulldogs into 16 fly-ball outs. She recorded only a single strikeout, well below her 5.83 K-per-seven-innings average, but surrendered only a pair of meaningless walks en route to her eighth win of the season. The win was WVC's ninth shutout of the season and kept their ERA at 1.30, good for second in the CCCAA.

West Valley scored the only run it would need in the 2nd when Dezmyre Cruz knocked in Larissa Higgins with a sacrifice fly to right. CSM would hit into inning-ending double plays in the 3rd and 4th to set the stage for some Viking fireworks in the 4th. Cruz drew a walk to open the inning and moved to second on Kassady Alcazar's SAC bunt. Up stepped Emma Courtney, who sent the second pitch she saw from Tori Cortez over the left-field fence for a two-run homer and a 3-0 WVC lead. 

After CSM hit a pair of flies to Courtney in center to end the top of the 5th, the Vikings would stage a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning that would put the game away. Larissa Higgins drew a one-out walk, followed by a single from Reyna Cruz. Pinch-runner Abigail Desa, in for Isabella Gallegos, who had reached on a fielder's choice, was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a Dezmyre Cruz bunt for out number two. But, the bases were still full of Vikings and Alcazar would rip a double to the right-center fence that drove in Higgins, Reyna Cruz and Dezmyre Cruz, for a 6-0 WVC advantage.

Higgins looped an outfield single that knocked in Sydney Heming, who had singled and advanced to second on a Gallegos free pass, for an insurance run in the 6th. White closed things out with three fly-ball outs in the top of the 7th.

Courtney finished 2-3 with two RBI, while Alcazar was 2-2 with three RBI. Higgins finished 1-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Leadoff hitter Bella Sweet was 2-4.

West Valley has a full week ahead with home contests against Moneterey Peninsula (22-3, 6-1) Monday (4/3) at 3pm, Ohlone (8-16, 1-7) Thursday (4/6) at 3pm and Fresno City (12-9) Friday at noon and 2pm.